Election Day: Top Five List

Today was an election day for parliament throughout South Korea.  It is my understanding that Koreans have a two-party sytems similar to the U.S., with one party being conservative and the other liberal.  Right now the president (who will term out of office in December following a separate presidential election) and a majority of parliament are members of the conservative New Frontier Party.

Listen, I have to be honest.  Politics cause me a great deal of stress, heartburn, and various other manifestations of  apoplexy.  So I just can’t seem to work myself up to care too much about who wins and loses here.  Call it a survival mechanism or unabashed laziness, that’s where I’m at.
All this is to say that I have not delved too deeply in the nuances of this election specifically, or South Korean politics in general, but from what I’ve seen, they have a couple things that really work for them.  Let me share a few thoughts.

Five Things Americans Could Stand to Learn from Korean Elections

5) Short and sweet.  I began seeing banners and posters, maybe, on the outside, three weeks ago.  Today was the election.  Meanwhile, we have 412,987 years until November’s U.S. elections and I can’t seem to get away from all the hot air being blown around by both parties, even by moving overseas.  It’s high time to put a time limit on this nasty politics business.

4) Slap a number on it.  Every Korean candidate has a number.  I’m not sure if they’re chosen or assigned, but they show up on all the banners, as well as every other form of advertisement.  This helps in numerous ways.  One: No confusion about who you’re talking about (especially helpful here where 50% of the population has one of two surnames: Kim or Park).  Two, and my favorite reason:  I can only imagine it’s more difficult to add a superior sneer to your tone when you’re calling someone by a number rather than a name.  “Geez louise.  Number Four’s political platform is just SO outdated.  Get with the times Number Four!”

3) Call a spade a spade.  Look, every political candidate has a soapbox to stand on.  So let’s call it what it is.  Stand on the street corner and proclaim your opinions right out where the common people have access to you, and you to them.  None of this hiding behind television commercials or other media.

2) Make it a holiday.  Today the banks and schools were closed.  There was a festive feeling in the air.  Voter turnout was estimated to be higher than 40%.  If that’s what it takes to get people out and voting, let’s do it too.

1) Positive messages.  My absolute favorite thing about the short and sweet election season are these trucks that drive around campaigning for each candidate.  Sure, they’re loud.  But just look how cheerful they are!  If sashes, numbered sweatshirts, and loud upbeat music don’t feel like a positive message, I don’t know what does.  Besides, they bow to me!  If I could vote, I’d vote for you!